Santa Fe, N.M. (March 10, 2021) — CocoMiel, a new brand of wholesale Guatemalan products with a mission, has launched with two offerings: green coffee beans and raw, unfiltered honey. Chocolate and hand-woven indigenous textiles are soon to follow. Founded by Bill Fishbein, long-time advocate for small-scale coffee producers and founder of non-profit The Coffee Trust, CocoMiel works to bring high quality Guatemalan products into the U.S. marketplace, share profits equally with the producers, and build toward a fairer, healthier, and more respectful specialty coffee trade.
CocoMiel launches with two products from the indigenous Maya community of San Gaspar, Chajul in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. The first, green coffee beans, are grown by smallholder farmers from the fair trade, organic coffee association Asociación Chajulense, and feature soft and balanced notes of lemon, peach, vanilla, and honey with a dark chocolate finish. The second, raw, unfiltered honey, offers a floral blend from an extensive array of wildflowers and coffee plants in the Cuchamatanes Mountain Range. Honeybees are cared for by coffee farmer-beekeepers from the fair trade, organic honey cooperative CopiChajulense. The honey bees cross-pollinate the coffee plants, enhancing their quality and making it possible for coffee farmers to both increase their income from coffee and supplement their income with honey.
The launch of CocoMiel brings a new model of wholesale business to the U.S. marketplace. By importing these Guatemalan products, Founder and CEO Bill Fishbein supports the mission of his complimentary nonprofit The Coffee Trust, by helping coffee producers increase their income from coffee while also reducing their dependence on the volatile coffee market as their sole source of income. While producers benefit from diverse sources of income, they also share equally in the profits their products earn in the U.S. Through this profit-sharing model, producers are guaranteed profits no less than 20 to 25 percent above the FTO premium price.
“It’s no secret that coffee producers have been excluded from earning a share of the profits that others earn selling their coffee in more economically advanced countries. It’s time for coffee producers to benefit from their skills, their hard work, and their continuous commitment to produce some of the world’s finest coffee,” says Fishbein, “This is what motivated me to establish CocoMiel.”
Fishbein began his journey in specialty coffee in 1978. He launched Coffee Exchange in Providence, Rhode Island in 1984 and traveled to Guatemala for the first time in 1988, where he was confronted with the deep poverty facing coffee producers. That same year, he co-founded Coffee Kids—the first non-profit organization dedicated to helping small-scale coffee producers improve their lives—with Dean Cycon, who later established Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Roasters in Orange, Massachusetts, and long-time friend and University of Rhode Island professor David Abedon. In 2008, Fishbein left Coffee Kids to make room for a younger generation of leadership, and created The Coffee Trust to continue his work on behalf of coffee farming communities. His innovative and grassroots approach to development and sustainability was featured in the PBS documentary The Visionaries, and Fishbein was later presented with the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s highest honor, The SCAA Lifetime Achievement Award.
CocoMiel’s honey and green coffee beans are available for purchase to wholesale customers via cocomiel.org, or by calling (505) 690-5834. Honey is available in 3 oz and 12 oz jars, with wholesale prices ranging from $2.75 to $7.00 per jar, depending on size and quantity ordered. Green coffee beans range from $3.30 to $3.50 per pound for full 152 lb bags, and from $4.00 to $8.00 per pound for partial bags.
Additional CocoMiel products are in development: a line of chocolate bars and a variety of hand-woven indigenous textiles, all following the same innovative model of profit sharing.
For more information, visit cocomiel.org/